Decisions: Agony or Easy-Peasy?
I’m noticing that it’s typical for many of us to agonise over decisions – big and small. Conversations with my coaching clients recently have brought this into the foreground:
- “I just don’t know what to do for the best”
- “I’m losing sleep”
- “I can’t stop thinking about this and it’s driving me crazy”
- “Part of me thinks I should do this, and the other part then convinces me I should do the opposite”
- “I feel paralysed and stuck”
I wanted to share an insight I’ve been living over the past couple of years that makes a big difference.
As human beings, we have an in-built guidance system – an infinite source of wisdom, creativity and intelligence. If we allow it, this guidance system can make our decision-making seemingly effortless.
It’s commonly accepted that sports teams have a ‘home’ advantage. For all sorts of reasons, they are more likely to win when they’re playing at their home ground.
All of us have a ‘home’ advantage too, which is available to us in every moment.
But this home has nothing to do with where we are in terms of a physical location. It’s about where we are in our head and heart.
Essentially, when we’re ‘home’ – resting in that innate sense of peace and profound OK-ness and connected up with our true nature – there’s a deep knowing that we can always rely on.
When we’re ‘away’, with a head full of noisy, insecure thinking, we feel not-OK, and decisions we’d normally take easily seem fraught with difficulty, turmoil and stress. Our minds are brilliantly creative – and will come up with 100’s of scenarios and what-if’s. And before long, we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.
It’s certainly true that some decisions require us to gather information, or seek help from others. When we’re home, we just know the next step to take, who to ask for help, or where to research.
But I’ve noticed that most of the decisions my clients fret over would NOT actually be made easier by more information, rational analysis or scenario planning. It might look like this would help, but it tends to just add more tangle and complexity.
My clients are just temporarily ‘away’ – as we all are from time to time.
The good news is that ‘home’ is always available, with its accompanying wisdom and clarity.
So, if I’m noticing a lack of clarity, tension or suffering of any kind about a circumstance in my life, I know these days that the answer isn’t MORE thinking. The answer is always just to come ‘home’. And then, almost miraculously, I know what to do – and I can just do it with a sense of calm ease.
So, how do you come back home? There are many strategies and tools out there that aim to do this, including meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, focusing on the body through exercise. And they’re all fine.
There’s an even easier way though, and this is what I share and teach on my workshops and in my coaching.
Understanding. Understanding how the system works. Understanding that my feelings are only ever telling me about my thinking in the moment. They’re not telling me anything about the outside world, or my true nature, or ‘what’s wrong with me’. They’re not telling me anything about how significant my action or inaction is. Just my thinking, in this moment. I’m looking through foggy glasses and seeing fog. When we insightfully see this for ourselves, everything calms down. The tension ebbs away, and we come back home.
So if you find yourself feeling upset, distressed, stressed or just plain stuck – that’s your early warning signal. Your thinking’s off – you are temporarily ‘away’. You don’t have to worry about it – it’s perfectly human and normal.
What do you do with a toddler having a tantrum? Love it. Maybe distract it. Make sure the toddler (or others!) don’t come to harm. But don’t engage with the content of the tantrum. You know that it will pass, and so don’t have to take it seriously.
As adults, we may have learned not to kick and scream and stamp our feet when we feel upset, insecure, scared or stuck, but it’s the same thing.
So, back to that decision you want to make:
How are you feeling? Are you home or away?
If you’re home – there’s no issue. You’ll know what to do. Do it.
If you’re away, simply understand that you are experiencing your thinking about it in this moment, and laugh lovingly at your own human-ness.
Come back home. You’ll know what to do. Do it.
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